A New Game To Enjoy

The Buckeyes’ loss to Wichita State still stings, but at least we’ve got a new Game to command our attention and analysis:  HBO’s Game of Thrones returns tonight.  You can see the extended trailer for Season Three here.

I’ve written before about Game of Thrones — both the HBO series and the epic-length books.  It’s a fantastic show, rich in themes and plots and production values, one that convincingly captures the curious medieval world where seasons can last for decades, dragons fly, and magic is real.  I’m looking forward to the return of characters that I love, and even more to the return of the awful characters that I love to hate.

I’ll relish reigniting my intense loathing for the detestable Joffrey Baratheon, the sadistic, cowardly punk who sits uneasily on the Iron Throne, and his duplicitous, manipulative mother Cersei.  I’ll be interested to see what happens to Jon Snow and the tiny yet hardy band of misfits and castoffs manning The Wall in the far north, working to meet the challenge of the wildlings and the White Walkers.   I’ll root for the honest, loyal Brienne of Tarth, the gigantic female knight who displays more knightly virtues than the men who ridicule her.  And I’ll enjoy becoming reacquainted with Arya, and Bran, and Tyrion, and the complex, interwoven storylines that characterize this series and meeting the new characters that will be introduced this season.

Having read the books, I suppose I could announce “spoilers,” but that’s not fair Game.  I’ll say only that big things, and terrible things, will be happening to the characters we’ve come to know.  Of course, loyal watchers of the show knew that already.  Any show that kills off its main character by public beheading before Season One even ends is not afraid to spin the world of Westeros on its axis.

Advertisements

Roger Waters And The Wall In Columbus

During the guitar solo on Comfortably Numb

Last night Richard and I, along with a bunch of other friends and colleagues, watched Roger Waters’ performance of The Wall, in its entirety, at the Schottenstein Center.

During Another Brick in the Wall, Part II

It was an awesome spectacle, and I am trying to use those terms with precision.  Waters, who is whippet-thin, was in good voice and good spirits and was backed by a large and skilled band and backup vocalists.  Together they were able to musically recreate the album — not quite note-for-note, but close.  The songs sounded great on an excellent quadrophonic sound system, and soon much of the audience was singing along.  By the time the show reached The Trial, a massive, crushing wave of sound was washing over the audience.

The music, of course, was married with a lot of showmanship and visual effects.  As the show progressed, workers steadily built The Wall brick by brick.  The Wall then served as the conceptual centerpiece for the show and the backdrop for wide-ranging video projections, many of which had overt political themes, before it finally crashed to the ground at the show’s climax.  The show also featured enormous, extraordinary puppets depicting characters in the same disturbed cartoon style found on the album, a crashing airplane, and a huge floating boar covered with advertising and political slogans and graffiti.

The Wall is a weird, disturbing album, filled with pain and misogyny.  This performance of the album sounded similar themes, and at times during the performance of album one the anti-woman messages became unbearable.  For album two the perspective was a bit less anti-female (but only a bit) and more political and anti-war, including a profoundly moving video montage of soldiers returning home to greet their children.  As we reached side four of the album, fascist concepts prevailed, with giant goosestepping hammers projected against The Wall, red and black flags, and Waters clad in a floor length black leather coat with a Nazi-style armband.  Watching the show beginning to end, you can’t help but conclude that Waters must have had to deal with some disturbing issues in his life.

For me, highlights of the night were Another Brick in the Wall Part II, where Waters was joined on stage by a group of children who sang and danced and then went to protest at the feet of an enormous strutting schoolteacher puppet, Mother, where Waters sang a duet with a 1980 video recording of himself that was projected on The Wall, Hey You, Nobody Home, and finally the stunning, irresistible Comfortably Numb, where a guitarist stood atop The Wall as he played the iconic guitar solos from the album.

This show was an experience, and one well worth having.

Roger Waters And The Wall

On Friday Richard and I, and a bunch of other people, are going to see Roger Waters perform The Wall.  According to the tour website, the show will feature Waters, backed by a full band, performing The Wall from start to finish.  Added to the mix will be an enormous wall, state-of-the-art video projections, a quadrophonic sound system, and puppets and inflatable objects.

I’m looking forward to the show because I like listening to live music and because some of the songs on The Wall are among my favorite songs, ever.  The album came out when I was in college, when Pink Floyd was a staple on every stereo system.  Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here were generally recognized, then and now, as two of the very best rock albums ever recorded, and Animals wasn’t chump change, either.  Then years passed without a new Pink Floyd album.  When the word got out that The Wall was in the offing it became one of the most eagerly anticipated album releases ever.  When it finally hit the record stores I immediately bought a copy and listened to it from beginning to end and most of my friends did, too.

After repeated playings I fell into a pattern of listening to the first three sides of the album where my favorite songs — Mother, Young Lust, Don’t Leave Me Now, Hey You, and particularly the epic Comfortably Numb — were found.  Side four fell into disuse, like side four of the Beatles’ White Album.  In a way, listening to Roger Waters and his band perform side four will be like running into an old friend that I haven’t seen for years.

Something Similar to Alan Parsons Project (Pt. 3)

In addition to what Dad posted, here are some albums I think are similar to the Alan Parsons Project’s I Robot.

1. Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene. Oxygene, released in 1976, is more electronic and less rock than I Robot, and it’s not exactly a concept album, but it has a similar sound and sensibility.

2. and 3. Pink Floyd, Animals and The Wall. Pretty much any Pink Floyd album from the 1970s is as close to Alan Parsons as you can get. In fact, Alan Parsons was an engineer for Dark Side of the Moon, so he probably influenced the sound for that album and was influenced by Pink Floyd’s sound. Like I Robot, both Animals and The Wall were concept albums and were also sort of funky.

4. The Who, Tommy. Tommy‘s sound is different than I Robot‘s because it was made in the late 1960s, but both are concept albums about an anguished protagonist and both have lots of good songs.

5. The Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food. This isn’t a concept album, but it reminds me of I Robot because it, also, seems to be a mix of new wave, electronic, classic rock, funk and disco. Actually, pretty much anything by the Talking Heads in the late 70s would qualify.